The American dust jacket of God is not nearly as compelling as the UK edition. Same William Blake portrait of the Almighty crouching in front of the moon, with clouds in the back and foreground, same flowing gray beard pushed to one side by some mighty wind, same lightning bolts leaping from God's split fingertips, all set against a stark black backdrop. The difference is, the U.S. edition squeezes a Karen Armstrong quote in between lightning bolts.
Not to denigrate Mohammed's favorite ex-nun biographer, but I'm guessing her blurb will cancel out the mesmeric effect that the cover used to have. This reviewer found the volume in a bookstore in British Columbia and simply could not stop ogling it. I finally bought it because I had to go home sometime.
The quote also speaks to how very differently books are marketed in the UK and the U.S. On the other side of the pond, there is a concentrated reading public for publishers to pitch to as a whole. In the U.S., the market is spread out and segmented, especially as regards religious books. A Karen Armstrong endorsement signals what kind of book this is, inviting readers of a more liberal, progressive bent and shooing most traditionalists away. But is it, in fact, that kind of a book?
Hard to say. First, it's British, and was written in and for that highly ironical non-churchgoing context. I'm as much an Anglophile as the next bloke, but sometimes I lack the right sense to tell if the author is having us on. Second, it's written by a Waugh, and they're always up to something. So when Evelyn's grandson discusses sexual ethics and Onan, well, I'm not sure how to take it when he refers to Catholic moral teaching on the subject as an abject embarrassment: typical snobby British putdown, ...1
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